At LBI’s Dune Market, a Shopkeeper Returns to Her Island Roots

Emily Raleigh's Beach Haven shop is a serene celebration of coastal living.

Photo of Emily Raleigh at her Dune Market in LBI next to a photo of home items from the shop
Dune Market’s inaugural season was wildly busy. Initially, to keep up with the demand for inventory, “I was paying off my credit card three times a day,” recalls owner Emily Raleigh. Photo: Courtesy of Picnic Perfect LBI

Growing up as a year-round LBI resident, Emily Raleigh was surrounded by hustling small-business owners.

She manned the take-out counter at Ship Bottom Shellfish, taught sailing at Brant Beach Yacht Club, and worked as a sales associate at Beach Haven boutique Sur La Plage. She even carpooled with the boutique’s owner, Bonnie, on the 45-minute drive across the bridge to and from her Toms River high school, absorbing shop talk from the back seat.

Although she spent years mulling how to make her mark on the world, Raleigh, now 29, didn’t consciously harbor a dream of opening a brick-and-mortar shop on her beloved island. She attended business school, founded her own media company, and worked in brand development, living everywhere from Manhattan to Boston to Hoboken.

But a temporary move back to LBI with her future husband during the pandemic soon turned permanent as Raleigh mused about the possibility of launching a business on her hometown turf.

Home items at the Dune Market in Beach Haven

Everything at the Dune Market is ethically sourced. Photo: Courtesy of Picnic Perfect LBI

She opened the doors of the Dune Market in Beach Haven last spring. The chic, cozy, thoughtfully curated shop teems with treasures that celebrate aspects of “coastal living”—leisure, serenity and self-care.

“I wanted it to feel like an old LBI cottage that has been in the family for generations,” Raleigh says.

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The shop comprises three distinct sections: the cottage (home décor and kitchenware, plus vintage pieces sourced with help from Raleigh’s mom, sister and aunt), the apothecary (non-toxic bath, body and wellness products) and the bookshop (a diverse array of beach reads). Everything is ethically sourced. This May, Raleigh also launched a wedding registry, available in the store and online.

And the market’s name? It arose from Raleigh’s love of LBI’s dune grass, billowing in the sea breeze. “It’s literally our protection, but it’s also this natural beauty,” she says. “It’s something that has stood the test of time [as this island has] changed through the years.”

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